This commentary was originally posted on the EDF California Dream 2.0 Blog.
Yesterday, California Senator Kevin de León introduced a bill, SB 37, which would create the first On-Bill Repayment (OBR) program entirely financed by private capital. OBR allows property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable generation upgrades and repay the obligations through their utility bills.
Senator De León said that “every Californian should be able to participate in the clean energy economy, and OBR helps us achieve this goal.” He believes that “OBR will lower utility bills, reduce pollution from dirty energy, and put thousands of Californians back to work. I am proud to be working with a broad coalition dedicated to moving this bill forward."
This bill will authorize the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to extend their groundbreaking commercial OBR program to residential properties. (The commercial program is expected to be effective by the end of March and was recently profiled in the New York Times.) We expect the residential program to provide retrofit capital to consumers that might not otherwise have access to low-cost funding for retrofits. These retrofits are expected to save money for consumers after financing costs and in many cases allow for more comfortable, healthier homes.
EDF is committed to working with consumer groups to make sure that this bill includes appropriate consumer protections. We will also be working to expand a coalition of supporters from the environmental, labor, business and financial communities.